Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.

About me...

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Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.


Monday, June 30, 2008

The Journey IS the Destination #5: Beer Garden at Solstice

Saturday, June 21. Definition of "clusterfuck". Solstice beer garden. Look for yourself.

It was the same way last year. You've got an entire park at your disposal and you block off a gonad-sized section for your beer tent. Granted, there are a number of booths and a stage area in the park but believe me, there's PLENTY of room to expand the beer tent area so you're not elbow-to-elbow with thirsty, drunken, sweaty people (unless they're thirsty, drunken, sweaty women). The lines for beer are ridiculous - and if you grabbed two beers at a time the other one was lukewarm by the time you got to it because it was hotter than shit out.

I'm sure Solstice officials, the City of Santa Barbara and the police department function under the assumption that a smaller beer tent area means a smaller beer drinking crowd and, therefore, minimum crowd control when it comes to out-of-hand Solstice revelers. That's fine - if you then limited the number of people you allowed into the tent area like you would a nightclub.

That's it. I've vented. Get it right, SB.

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The Journey IS the Destination #4: Santa Barbara's Solstice!

Saturday, June 20th. Come to the Mardi Gras parade and festivities that is Solstice!, marking the first days of summer. This was our 2nd year - Jas and I - and is always quite the sight. Just ask Aunt Ev. Course, I had to get in a plug for the blog...come join us for the festivities and see the three-legged dog!

(Wait! There's more to see...)

The Brothers Ircink.

My Uncle Bob and Amara - his brother's girlfriend's daughter

We left with about 15 minutes remaining in the parade - some people were antsy to get to the beer garden (or shop some more) - and I missed this woman, wearing nothing but pasties, some floss and shoes.

A reveler in the parade.

The floats are quite unique. No motors allowed - everything powered by the sun or by foot.

Scott and Chuck Nowak. Chuck is the youngest of the Nowak clan (8 all told). My Uncle Bob (married to my dad's youngest sister, Evelyn) is the oldest. Scott is the oldest of Bev - a Nowak herself. We hunt and fish with Bev's husband, Gary. Should I slow down?

Brenda and Ashley. Brenda is my cousin Joe's lady (Joe is the middle child of Bob and Ev) and Ashley is engaged to Scott. These two like to shop - and can never sit still. I DO enjoy their company though.

There's Cousin Joe and my brother. We got impatient for the parade to start so we walked a block and grabbed some libations.

Mark, Laura and Melissa Aldecoa. They live in Buellton - Laura is the youngest of the Nowak sisters. That's Natalie on the pavement - the youngest of my Uncle Bob's kids. Anyone see Aunt Ev?

These statues are grouped in an area of downtown Santa Barbara - window washers and other figures at play and work. Here Dr. Franklin and I have a little chat about the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. He concurred - as did the United States Supreme Court, 5-4.

For a hunter, Jas is quite the animal lover. Until dove season comes around. KERPLOWIE!!

Ash and Scott. Young love. We'll come back to them in 20 years and check in on things.

Cousin Mike - child number 4 in Bob/Ev Nowak clan. He just graduated from high school and thinks he's big shit. He also plays guitar and drums. You know I sing - THAT's an instrument, too.

Mike showing off for the crowd. He's actually pretty good and self-taught.

A group of us at Haskell's Beach.

Waiting for the big wave.

One-legged dog. He hopped around pretty good - would never have known he was a leg shy.

Girls in jacuzzi. Good place to end, huh?

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This ain't no fish story.

A whopper, ain't she. I was just getting ready to put this back into storage so it wouldn't get damaged and thought to take a picture of it. Caught this smallmouth three or four years ago while fishing in Wisconsin. My brother was in the boat at the time - he had caught a monster a few years prior and I had to shove his eyeballs back in his head when he spied this one. 7 pounds. Can't recall the length. Trophy. Mounted. Done deal. Biggest smallie any of the guys in our fishing party had ever seen.

That's my cell phone - for a better perspective. Eat your heart out Babe Winkelman.

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Tyson Gay breaks U.S. 100 meter record.

Oh Scotty. Making the blog via your braggadocio. I'm kidding. When I was in Santa Barbara last week my cousin Scott was regaling us with memories of his receiving days on the Wisconsin State Championship football team in New Berlin (he's like 26). That (yawn) - along with the following story - got me thinking about when I was in my prime physically, and those moments when I basked in my own "Glory Days".

EUGENE, Ore., Saturday, June 28 - Double sprint world champion Tyson Gay set an American record of 9.77 seconds, making him the third-fastest man in history behind

Jamaica's Asafa Powell (9.74) and Usain Bolt (9.72). Gay, whose previous best was 9.84, topped Maurice Greene's American record of 9.79. Tim Montgomery's 9.76 and Justin Gatlin's 9.77 were wiped out of the record books because of doping bans. "I'm not worried about the record," Gay said. "I'm planning on going faster."

So while we're on the subject of track and field, you may be unaware that my sport of choice in high school. Track. Waterford High. Yep - one-man sport. Didn't wanna risk any injuries that might compromise my hurdling ability. 120 yard highs, 330 yard lows, mile relay and long jump were my main events. And I dominated the lows. My brother - who was a freshman when I was a senior - ran the same events. I believe his best high hurdle time was a hair quicker than mine. You'll have to ask him.

I dated our statistician - Betty Vitale - who coined the nicknamed, "The Greek" (later shortened by Coach Cameron Bruce to "Greek"). She said I looked like a Greek god when I ran. No shit - her words. I took a few things to storage a couple weeks ago and happened upon a small box containing my track medals. Not a lot - we didn't have many opportunities to collect medals in those days - but a few. Let's take a peak into Ye Old Memory Treasure Chest, shall we?

1) 1st place Conference Relays, 300 yard high hurdle shuttle; these were held at Waterford, 2) 1st place Conference Relays, 600 yard low hurdle shuttle - both 1982, senior year; 3) 1981 Case Invitational, 2nd place, 1600 yard relay. Shuttles are when you have three guys on each team. The first guy takes off running and at the end of his leg, the second man is waiting and he takes off, etc. My junior year (1981) we dominated shuttles as our best guy, Dan Hewitt, a senior, was one of the top hurdlers in the state of Wisconsin. Fast.

1) 1981 Conference Relays, 1st place, high hurdle shuttle relay; 2) low hurdles - may be 2nd but there's no writing on the back; 3) 2nd low hurdles - the writing is faded on the back but I can make out 1981 Track and Field Championships. I know I have the newspaper articles to check but they're in storage - way in the back.

(*That second medal has to be 1982 Conference Championships...and a very cheap looking medal compared to what they gave in the past - and compared to what I went through to get it. Great story. I was favored to win the 330 yard low hurdles my senior year but a pile-up occurred over the 2nd hurdle. 4 or 5 guys went. I got up and hobbled over the finish line, pretty upset (along with a few other guys). My coach comes flying across the field yelling, "FOUL! FOUL!". Imagine hurdlers colliding with each other...and the hurdles themselves - not pretty. My leg was bleeding so we quickly bandaged it up and I ran back over to re-start the race. I placed 2nd - don't remember how close it was. I blame the injury. My arch-rival from Burlington (Dallas QB Tony Romo's high school) beat me. However, I finished with the best time over-all in the conference and throughout all of Racine County (see Journal-Times medal below).

NOTE: I don't care what anyone says, of all the sprint events, the 330 yard lows are the toughest event in track. Anyone I've talked to agrees. No argument. It's a fricken sprint with barriers. Try it sometime.

The mother lode. MVP my senior year, 1982. Also Co-Captain with Ned Zoelle - who I haven't seen pretty much since then and can't figure out why. "NED! If you read this, email me!".

Racine Journal-Times 1982 - Named All Conference and All County with the best time in the 330 yard low hurdles for 1982 = 39.6. That's right...I beat fast black guys from Racine Park, Racine Case and Racine Horlick. Suckaaaaas!

Another fun story. In the summer of 1997 I trained (somewhat) for the All Iowa Games, an Olympic-style competition for amateur athletes. All the events are based on age - I was 33 at the time. Remember, a lot had changed since 1982. Low hurdle heights were raised and the 330 yard LH were now the 400 meter LH. It's a tad longer.

So we're all sitting around the starting line shooting the shit and the starter official approaches us and right off the bat says, "I think we can all agree that you guys want the hurdle height dropped down to where it was at in 1982...right?". No argument from us. But we still had to run extra 100 meters or so to run, including 2 or 3 extra hurdles.

Long story short, you know that WALL people talk about in track? I hit it with two hurdles left. That was tough. Had it all on tape too but like a jackass I mistakenly erased it. I placed 2nd in my age class (I think there were 9 of us). The guy who beat me was in AS GOOD of shape as he must've been in high school. Like 3% body fat on the guy - a white dude. Listen, the time he beat me with that day in Dubuque, Iowa was equivalent to my best time of 39.6 - in 1982 - at 330 yards.

Can't go back but we love to live'm again, don't we? That's OK. It's good to remember every once in a while.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

I picked up a nude woman today.

So I'm finishing up my 5-mile walk and I see there's a moving truck outside a home a block away from where I live. I notice this woman (above) sitting on the sidewalk across the street with a note attached: FREE SCULPTURE. So I took it. I'm a pack rat - see for yourself. It's in my roommate's flower garden in her backyard. I hope she likes it. I do.

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Me or the dinosaur?

I received these artistic efforts from a young lad of 6. He says they're depictions of a dinosaur. But now I'm questioning whether subconsciously he wasn't referring to me.

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flag Day.

Flag Day was two weeks ago today. I wasn't aware. I would be remiss if I didn't honor Her today.

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Hillary and Obama: A lovefest with "puke" written all over it.

Cartoonist Thomas Nast's 1875 illustration of how politicians have tied up "Justice" in red tape. Crooks in foreground are laughing.

This is exactly why I hate politicians, our political party system and politics in general.

UNITY, N.H.—Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Friday to turn the page on their bitter, history-making fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, declaring the next chapter is about beating Republican John McCain...Obama and Clinton stood on a platform before thousands of cheering, shouting supporters and took turns praising each other and urging party solidarity. She called the nominee-in-waiting a standup guy. Clinton noted that they had stood "toe to toe" against each other in a primary season fight that began almost two years ago and declared the time has come to "stand shoulder to shoulder" against the GOP. "To anyone who voted for me and is now considering not voting or voting for Sen. (John) McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider," said Clinton, beseeching her supporters to join with Obama's "to create an unstoppable force for change we can all believe in." In turn, Obama praised both Clinton and her husband as allies and pillars of the Democratic Party. "We need them. We need them badly," Obama said.

Clinton said. "If you think we need a new course, a new agenda, then vote for Barack Obama and you will get the change that you need and deserve." "I've admired her as a leader, I've learned from her as a candidate. She rocks. She rocks. That's the point I'm trying to make," Obama added, responding to cheers from the crowd. "I know firsthand how good she is, how tough she is, how passionate she is, how committed she is the causes that brought all of us here today."

Someone please tell me when the ass-kissing, bullshit is over???? You don't have to be a Democratic, Republican, Independent, Socialist, Libertarian or Druid to realize this photo-op, "solidarity" gesture reeks of hypocrisy. Rocks in the head, more like it.

First off, political parties exist because a bunch of people over here believe one thing and a bunch of people over there believe another thing. So if they all basically believe in the same thing, why are they ripping each other new assholes during the Democratic primary? Isn't it really all about likability and experience? As far as "what would you do in office" - it's a mute point. You can't do anything if your party doesn't hold a majority in the Houses and your Presidential power is limited by a series of checks and balances so you don't mistakenly lean on the Red Button and blow our neighbors up.

Secondly, if you were ripping on your colleague during the primary, how can you suddenly be patting them on the back, praising them and saying, "she rocks"? Two-faced, lying bastards. Most of them. No - pretty much all of them. It's the perfect illustration of party politics, shenanigans, back-stabbing and false promises that's rampant in our political system (any political system, for that matter).

OK. You're going to tell me that it's all for party solidarity at this point. And I say, "blow me". Don't talk to me about "parties". Our political party system is filled with career politicians who won't fart without considering the ramifications to their career. The entire idea that two candidates - Obama and Hillary - banding together for solidarity's purpose perfectly illustrates the problems of partisan politics. Politicians vote on issues not the way their constituents want them to vote (if they would we wouldn't be fighting in Iraq) but how their party votes. Look at the voting results sometime. Here's an example:

S. 1315 - To increase benefits for disabled U.S. veterans and provide a fair benefit to World War II Filipino veterans for their service to the United States. The vote result was 41 YEAS and 56 NAYS. All the NAYS were Democrat, save 5 votes.

Imagine that. The Democrats aren't in favor of increasing benefits to disabled U.S vets and they aren't in favor of fair benefits to WWII Filipino vets. Democrats are generally anti-war and Republicans are thought of as pro-war (you know what I mean). I'm won't get into the meat of this bill (maybe the Dems were in favor of the bill but there were particulars they weren't in agreement with the Reps about). The point is they voted in a block - as a party.

Lemmings. Insanity. I need to head back up to the Sequoia National Park and stay there for a while. Things seem to make more sense up there.

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The Journey IS the Destination #2: El Capitan Canyon State Park & Campground

Thursday, June 19th. Jas' vigil. Fire Captain. Son-Artiste. Car driver. Deerslayer. Master Electrician and Master Baiter (fisherman, I mean). Boy, did I have a time with "vigil". "Vidual". "Victual". Must be the mad cow. You have to hear about our overnight camping trip at El Capitan, so read on, friend (there's 15 parts to this series, by the way).

(Wait! There's don't wanna miss this.)

El Capitan Canyon Campground and State Park (or State Park and Campground?) is about 10 minutes north of Santa Barbara - or Goleta. Our tent. I was impressed - though WE didn't get a bowl of fruit next to our beds like the brochure showed. The one-bed tents had a few more accessories but all-in-all, I was very satisfied. Our showers were 4o yards in back of our tent and were also very nice. The cabins sleep from 2-6; all have indoor baths and some have jacuzzi's. That's another trip. This tent cost $144 per night. There are over 100 cabins and tents - it's pretty expansive. If you don't want the hassles typically associated with camping, this place is for you. "Glamping" is what some refer to it as.

The view from our tent. There were three other tents right around us but this was the closest tent to our south. To the east a road led up to a parking lot an another tent/cabin area. Oh - it was hotter than shit. HOT! Mid-90's...maybe even a 100 where we were.

Now this campground is no schlep of a place. Even my Uncle Bob (who's a National Marketing VP) commented on how nifty the marketing brochure was. This is just part of a 4-page, heavy card stock, fold-out promo piece we picked up in the office. See the bowl of fruit?

One thing about El Capitan Campground - they got a lot of rules. Primarily because their clientele is mostly couples and families and they don't want people running around like some children I know turning their place into Burning Man, if you know what I mean. Also, the canyon (as we were informed) is 'ecologically and biologically a unique setting, situated at the "arm" of the State of California', etcetera, etcetera, blah, blah, blah. With that:

1) No smoking. Which we ignored. I had called ahead 'cause I knew Jas and I might whip out a stoggie or two and they said if we were discreet it was fine.

2) No guests. Now I called them ahead of time as my cousins wanted to stop by. The office said fine. We get there and they hem and haw and finally say our cousins have to be out of the park by 9 p.m. They didn't come anyway.

3) No cars in the campground. This is fine. You're escorted to your tent or cabin; you unload; you drive your car to one of three designated parking lots. They don't want the campsites to look like a parking lot. Well, we didn't move our car to the lot quick enough and were called on it. Whatever.

4) No loud music after 10 p.m. Fine - we didn't have any music anyway.
Jason started referring to the staff as "the Nazis" because they'd patrol the ground and we'd have to ditch our "smoothies" (as my cousin Joe says).

"HEY! What do you mean we can't handcuff the three girls in the two tents next door and make them..." - forget it. I never said that. Thought it, but didn't say it.

Disgusted with this rule and that rule (you know, 'cause we "drink"), Jas and I lit out for the park, which is across the access road and under the 101 straight to the Pacific Ocean.

Tracks. What was the tip-off?

This path ran parallel to the ocean.

Surfer dude must have been waiting for the perfect wave - he found it, riding it in to shore about 5o yards out from here and about 150-200 yards into shore. He was ecstatic.

Took this right into the sun. Thought it would make a great shot and it turned out. Thanks, Heather.

The water in the creeks here is very clear. That's what those reflections are on the bottom of the picture.

I was struck by how many different colored rocks were sitting there in one group. I swear - I didn't touch a rock. Except the one I found at Rincon that looked like those Easter Island statues. I accidentally left it right next to this pile. Went back twice to try and retrace my steps (it wasn't that long of a stretch from when I had my rock to this pile of stones) but to no avail. It's really like searching for a needle in a haystack - a rock on this shore. Pisses me off. I may go back and try and find it.

The sun has pretty much disappeared. Time to head back to camp, Dickhead (my brother, not you).

Very inviting. Too bad I wasn't inviting someone of the opposite sex into "it".

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Like a log. With my brother.

Goodbye El Capitan. Goodbye El Capitan Campground Nazis. Oh, I say that in jest. Jas and I agree we wish we could've stayed longer and we would return. As I'm writing these last few lines, the theme music from, "The Endless Summer" - 1966, just popped on. Fitting (the tune is on my blog and if you like the summer and surf you should see it). Didn't want this trip to end. Now it's your turn.

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